Elections 2016

This year, People's Member-Owner are making two big decisions during the Elections. The first is to elect four members of the Board of Directors. The second is to choose the organization to receive $1,000 from the People's Cooperative Community Fund from the five nominated non-profits. Read on to learn more about the nominees and to make an informed decision!

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Board of Directors Nominees

This year, we have four open seats on the Board of Directors. Five People's Member-Owners are vying for those spots, two of whom are members of the current Board. Please read their interviews below to make an informed decision of who to represent you as a Member-Owner for the next three years. You can also meet them in person at the events below to get to know them a bit better, and to cast your vote!


Jacob Engstrom

Current Board Chair

What is your favorite family recipe to make?

Our favorite family recipe is Salty Spicy Lentils.  This dish is a wonderful blend of simple ingredients.  What goes into it changes with the seasons, but the base is always red lentils from People’s bulk section, with garlic, onion, and hot peppers, the latter often from our own garden.  Warming in winter, spicy in summer, and a great lunch the next day!

Directors devote a significant amount of time and energy to Board work. What is inspiring you to be more involved at People’s?

What keeps me invigorated in the work of the board is the important role that our store holds within the many communities that make up our membership. Folks from all sorts of backgrounds, beliefs, and economic status come to People’s because they value our environment and commitment to fairly-sourced, quality food sold to them by a business they own a part of.

What strengths will you bring to the Board?

When approaching my work on the board, I bring my history. I grew up in a rural farming community.  My grandmother helped found our local coop, and I have been an active believer in the strength of cooperatives my entire life.  To this foundation, I add a desire to find the common ground between often diverse interests, strong active listening and engagement skills, and my deep commitment to social justice.

People’s Ends Statement guides all of the work that the Co-op does. What part or parts of the Ends Statement resonate most with you and why?

“Social and economic justice.”  The foundation of the modern cooperative movement was the concept that people could come together collectively and take control of their own access to food.  Rather than just being passive consumers of whatever products large companies choose to provide at the best profit margin, Member-Owners take hold of their choices.  That emphasis on collective wealth & wellbeing of the community inspires me.

Where do you see People’s in ten years?

In ten years I see People’s continuing to expand its role in the communities it currently serves, as well as welcoming new communities to the table.  I see our co-op’s continuing growth and position as a thoughtful, ethical business strengthening both our local economy and communities. And most importantly, I see People’s continuing to be a business that stands for quality, integrity, and empathy to our Member-Owners.

Dave Wadley

Current Board Member

What is your favorite family recipe?

Roasted root vegetables were a common staple when I was growing up. I still like roasted vegetable but have added some additional ingredients to change things up. Root vegetables include potatoes, garlic, onion, beets, turnips, and parsnips. There are cut into chunks bathed in water, salted, and drenched in olive oil. Add ground pepper, bake at 350F. Other vegetables are added, when half cooked, such as mushrooms, asparagus, and greens, all treated with a marinating mix. Add spices like oregano, fennel, and truffle oil. Broil during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. I like a little rice vinegar on it.

What is inspiring you to be more involved at People’s?

As of right now and ongoing into the next few years, there are exciting times for People’s. With a maturing organizational set of systems combined with planning and future development, these are critical times. Being involved at this time is hard to resist for someone that loves good ideas. A second term is a chance to continue learning and to use skills that have been developed.

What strengths do you bring to the Board of Directors?

My educational background is related to architecture, urban and regional planning with a focus on urban design and transportation, geography, and public administration. I have had several jobs including population research, urban planning, and design. My company Appropriate Technology has been designing, planning and building advanced green buildings and other systems since 1980. I am a great synthesizer, bringing together many different people and viewpoints. During my previous term on the Board, I developed skills that had been started by serving on other Boards and many committees. I have gained a very good understanding of natural foods markets during my years designing, building, managing, and other activities at People’s.

What part(s) of People’s Ends Statements resonate most with you and why?

Sustainability and Thriving Cooperative & Local Economies. There are very strongly lined, in my mind and fit nicely into the Work of my life. I think these two are leading activities in some ways. With such exciting and interesting undertakings such as these, Passionate Community is surely going to be a part. Progressive Land & Animal Stewardship can have a space to exist and be developed further. With a solid base in Sustainability and Thriving Cooperative & Local Economies, activities can be expanded in Human Rights, Social & Economic Justice. With a strong base all other Ends can be invested in. And so, the challenge, to balance financial strength and systems design with the more human needs. Or rather to make these forces work together to strengthen all the Ends.

Where do you see People’s in 10 years?

In the future, People’s can become even more of a model and catalyst for community development and so much more. Overall, size of activities will more than double. New operations will be carbon neutral or even a source for community offsets. Work will gain speed to bring activities close to zero waste. Facilities will work to solve adjacent problems and broader community problems. Facilities will be beautiful, celebrate life, exhibit culture, be archetypal/iconic and loved by nearly all as an extension of their own lives. People’s will be a safe haven for neighbors in ordinary times and in the worst disasters. People’s will be a source of safe buildings, food, water, energy, communications, education, and model of governance.

Significant resources will become available to invest in building a fair food system. Resources will also be available to strengthen our investment in all our Ends. 

Kathy Thurow

What is your favorite family recipe to make?

I love to feed a crowd, so my favorites tend to be large pan recipes; lasagna, flan, and roasted veggies are some day-to-day standards.  My husband’s the salad king at our house, so I usually get to focus on the main dish. 

Since it’s nearly strawberry season, though, I’ll share a dessert: my mom’s sponge cake, which must be served with strawberries & whipped cream. Seriously, I only make this in June. Here's the recipe. 

Directors devote a significant amount of time and energy to Board work. What is inspiring you to be more involved at People’s?

My kids are nearly grown and need less of my active attention. The focus of my work is changing from direct patient care to healthcare policy and oversight. I’m ready to take on a community service role. At People’s I feel that my energy and commitment can really make a difference.  

I completed an MBA a year ago, and in the process read a lot of annual reports. People’s stellar annual report stands out as a model of coherence, with just the right mix of straightforward numbers, explanatory charts, and a flowing narrative describing what we’re looking at and why it is that way.  I want to be a part of the team that creates such clarity.

What strengths will you bring to the Board?

When our kids were small I was a low-income mom concerned about the provenance and safety of my family’s food, so I understand the needs of our consumers.  

For the last few years I’ve been learning how to run a small farm, valuing people, planet and profit while providing sustenance to others in an ethical way, which helps me appreciate the perspective of our producers. 

My recent business training allows me to make sense of spreadsheets and the process improvement side of things.  

People’s Ends Statement guides all of the work that the Co-op does. What part or parts of the Ends Statement resonate most with you and why? 

Hardest question. The Ends Statement is beautifully succinct and captures so much.  I love how it’s prioritized by the size of typeface, and heartily agree with its message. 

So, as it states, the most important part is A PASSIONATE COMMUNITY, WORKING TOGETHER. This commits us to doing our best every day to cooperate for the good of all, with passion and intention, and that’s about as powerful as you can get.

I’m also really glad that human rights, social and economic justice got in there because it’s so vital that we think things through using those lenses.

Where do you see People’s in ten years?

Thriving.  Accessible.  Innovatively inclusive. Committed to our values, adaptable and expedient in our execution.  Delightful and passionate. 

I’m confident that the loyalty of our members and their openness to change will support us in creating a new form that is recognizable to our long-time constituents, draws members from new and diverse backgrounds, and continues to serve our community.

Teresa Koper

What is your favorite family recipe to make?

Zupa Borowikowa (boletus mushroom soup) as part of my family’s Holiday Polish peasant meal called Wigilia.

Directors devote a significant amount of time and energy to Board work. What is inspiring you to be more involved at People’s?

I believe in food as a common issue that brings all people to the table, so to speak. This gives us all a vested interest in the water, air, and soil that our food is grown in. I seek out common ground to begin dialog, strategizing, and action. People’s Co-op brings us together as a community and gives us a place to gather together to work even more harmoniously with our environment.

This co-op model intrigues me, as it has been a tremendous example of a long-term success. I want to learn from this model more in-depth and intimately.

I believe in People’s Co-op and I want to contribute as an active-force in helping the co-op to succeed long into the future, despite on-going challenges, and continue be a model for many others.

What strengths will you bring to the Board?

My background in agriculture, soil fertility, and climate change give me a big picture perspective of our changing world. I am a hopeful visionary and have many ideas of how to be resilient amidst these changes.

I also have much experience working with boards and groups with widely varying interests and perspectives. My work experience has centered-around achieving a balance between sustainable economics, a healthy environment, and community inclusion.

I also can bring a diverse perspective to the board, as a low-income and LGBT community member. I am naturally inclusive and always work towards solutions that benefit all.

People’s Ends Statement guides all of the work that the Co-op does. What part or parts of the Ends Statement resonate most with you and why?

"A passionate community working together" deeply resonates with me as a fertile ground, primed for positive growth. I truly want to take an active part in such a community. "For sustainability" and "stewardship" are the other components that I am personally most drawn to with my environmental background and focus. However, I believe this End Statement to be a holistic approach to a community effort that would not be nearly as effective without the inclusion of each. 

Where do you see People’s in ten years?

I see an immediate upcoming challenge of how to clearly differentiate the People’s Co-op from its competitors. I see this being something we can and will overcome. Then I foresee a long-term challenge as being how to serve all those that want to be included, especially in an erratic economy. I also see the need for People’s to be a strong voice in the protection of fertile lands and advocate for the farmers that work to bring sustainable food to the co-op community.

I see People’s Co-op remaining a staple community center for SE Portland. This role will become even more integral as more member-owners join because they recognize the impacts of buying food that are sustainably grown have on our entire community. The rippling-effects will benefit our local economy, environment, and community members. People’s Co-op will be even more sought after as a model for other communities, as food co-ops will be a positive trend of the near future.

Melissa Scott

What Is Your Favorite Family Recipe To Make?

My favorite family recipe to make is pancakes. My boyfriend and I enjoy making them together. It’s a joint effort. I mix all of the ingredients and he heats up the cast iron pan and scoops up the batter to do them. We take our time and talk about things while we make them. It’s the time I feel closest to the slow food movement and it always makes us feel happy. 

Directors Devote A Significant Amount Of Time And Energy To Board Work. What Is Inspiring You To Be More Involved At People’s?

 What is inspiring me to be more involved at People’s comes in part from attending a board member meeting where we were all sitting at tables discussing the future of People’s.  That was the spark for me. I feel very close to food sovereignty movements, the slow food movement and 350.org, and feel that People’s represents those fronts and many more. I look forward to learning the ropes and about connecting more with members. I remember being asked to step up to the plate by a couple of the members and become an advocate for change and help find solutions to things such as carbon footprint and the labeling of GMOs.  I eventually would like to be in a position that would help legislation pass that would bring all of Oregon in line with that of Josephine and Jackson counties and support their efforts. I am glad the Dark Act was defeated but worry that it could be an ongoing battle. The best way to think about how to face these issues is with likeminded people in a very Gramscian solidarity way. You can’t win by yourself but you can win with a collective. Besides, I know what I know on these subjects and always look forward to hearing other points of view. I’m looking to place myself within the movements and find my voice.

What Strengths Will You Bring To The Board?

 I have a passion for research on food politics and stay up to date on what’s happening in the world for current events connected to food. I am not afraid to write my legislators and senators or my President letters on the issues that we face. I think about food fifty percent of my day and do my best to engage with food topics.

People’s Ends Statement Guides All Of The Work That The Co-Op Does. What Part Or Parts Of The Ends Statement Resonate Most With You And Why?

I feel that through the third Ends statement is where People’s can separate itself from the competition and stay a thriving business. It becomes the leader in promoting a vibrant regional food system and thus for anyone who wants to help lower their carbon footprint it is the place to shop. Farmers, community leaders and an ever growing number of new members could come as one on this. I would like to see People’s get even more dedicated to this issue.

Where Do You See People’s In Ten Years?

In ten years I hope to see People’s find a way to cut itself off from the current kind of trade pushed by neoliberalism or at the very least reach a middle ground on breaking free from the kind of commercial enslavement and restrictions that threatens our sustainability.

People's Cooperative Community Fund Nominees

The PCCF was started in 2007 through the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation. Donations and contributions from our Member-Owners, suppliers, and the store's profits build this fund. Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation loans money to budding cooperatives and community organizations in need of resources. The interest earned from the PCCF donated to local cooperatives and community organizations that are in alignment with our Ends. The organization with the most votes receives $1,000 from the PCCF. This year's nominees follow. 

Resonate Choral Arts

Resonate Choral Arts is a non-profit organization that builds community through performance art for women of all ages. Meeting weekly, women join together to learn music and write together, to create a program. This program of music and collaborative art is then performed at community centers, youth outreach organizations, nursing homes and other care facilities. Resonate Choral Arts has reached out to many people over the last few years.  With a vision of sharing music with members of the community and working as mentors with young teen women, we are looking forward to our future performances. Find out more. 

The Curriculum of Cuisine

The Curriculum of Cuisine brings culinary education back into high schools. Teaching teenagers about food justice and how to cook bringing chefs into classrooms. Find out more. 

Signal Fire

Signal Fire helps build the cultural value of the natural world by connecting artists to our remaining wild places. We empower artists to be agent of change. Our projects foster self-reliance, creative energy, and interdisciplinary collaboration. We utilize public lands to advocate for equitable access to protection of these vital places. Find out more. 

Greeley Garden & Urban Farm Collective

Greeley Forest Garden is a Project of the nonprofit land trust, the Oregon Sustainable Agricultural Land Trust, also known as OSALT.  The Greeley Forest Garden property has been reclaimed from barren land and designed into a thriving Food Forest to feed the surrounding neighborhoods, budding with fresh & local food crops and conserved as an urban wildlife habitat along the beautiful North Portland Willamette Bluffs.  We have embarked on a unique collaboration and partnership with Sisters of the Road Café that focuses on Food Justice in Portland, working to empower our community through land protection, social justice, research and education.  Through our partnership, Sisters of the Road Café has started the first ever Barter Market Farm Stand in Old Town and provides fresh and locally produced foods.  The garden property is currently not hooked up to any supply of water and therefore our capacity to grow various fruits and vegetables is limited.  With continued support from our community, we are confident the Greeley Forest Garden and Sisters of the Road will forge a unique fight for Food Justice in Portland that will last for generations into the future. Find out more. 

Eastside Portland Air Coalition

Eastside Portland Air Coalition was formed by neighbors who discovered they were living in toxic hot spots caused by glass manufacturing. EPAC’s membership quickly broadened to include thousands of neighbors around Portland who are facing toxic pollution in their own neighborhoods.

As a result of EPAC’s efforts, air quality issues are in the spotlight in Portland and beyond. Currently, EPAC is:

  • Connecting with neighbors across Portland in a powerful clean air movement
  • Sharing medical, scientific and legal resources to help neighbors make informed choices
  • Securing neighborhood involvement in the regulatory decision that impact our health

Together, we will make neighborhoods safe for breathing. We’ll also use your funds to share resources online and via print. EPAC is all volunteer-run and all dollars contributed will be used to directly support our mission. Find out more. 

How to vote

You received a ballot in the mail along with the summer issue of Grass/Roots. If you are missing yours, com by the Co-op to pick up a new one. Once you've got your ballot, though... How do you vote? 

First, Mark your choices! 

Read about the nominees for the Board of Directors and the People's Cooperative Community Fund on this page or in Grass/Roots. 

Then, validate it!

We're not able to count your vote unless your PeopleShare number and the name and signature of the primary PeopleShare holder are written on the back. 

Finally, Submit your vote!

There are three ways to get your votes to People's:

  1. Put your ballot in the mail, no postage necessary. 
  2. Drop off your ballot at the store. 
  3. Drop off your ballot at the Voting Parties or the Annual Meeting on July 16th. 

Remember, there is only one vote per PeopleShare, even if more than one person uses the number at the register. The last day to vote is at the Annual Meeting on Saturday July 16th.